Star Trek: Picard is now done with season 1, and the densely-layered story arc of the show definitely left us with a few burning questions about the new Star Trek lore it established. One of the biggest elements of Picard that seems to have confused some fans is the backstory of the Romulan Cabal known as the Zhat Vash, and their connection to the new doomsday threat of the Synthetic Alliance. Well, Picard showrunner Michael Chabon has been fielding questions from fans regarding details of season 1 - including more clarity on Romulan ancient history, and the ceremony known as "The Admonition."
Warning - Star Trek: Picard SPOILERS Follow!
In the Star Trek: Picard finale, Zhat Vash spy Narek (Harry Treadaway) informs Picard's crew of the ancient Romulan prophecy of "Ganmadan" or "The Day of Annihilation." The prophecy was basically the human equivalent of Ragnarok or Judgement Day, which is to say it was widely believed to be a myth. However, to the Zhat Vash, "Gandmadan" was made all too real, by the discovery of the Admonition, a beacon of warning left behind by an ancient culture. There was the further twist that the Admonition turned about to be a warning by synthetics, for other synthetics, never intended for the Romulans to find.
In the midst of all that was happening in Star Trek: Picard, quite of few fans were left confused about the timeline of Romulan history, regarding its doomsday prophecies. One fan asked Picard showrunner Michael Chabon for claification during a recent Q&A - here's what Chabon had to say, regarding the different timelines for "The Admonition," and "Gandmadan":
"The Admonition predates Romulan civilization by hundreds of centuries," Chabon explained in an Instagram Story. "If Romulans had not chanced upon it, the cours of their history would have been very different. Their pre-existing mythology of Ganmadang[sp] just gave them a framework for interpreting their experience of the Admonition."
Basically, the Romulan Zhat Vash were a good metaphor for religious extremist organizations, which take mythology and lore and twist it for their own ends. The Romulans never truly understood the purpose and meaning of The Admonition, but that didn't stop them from sacrificing generation after generation to its mind-melting visions, or committing damnable actions like sabotaging the Romulan rescue effort after the fall of Romulus, thereby hurting their own people.
However, it's important to separate the Romulan experience with The Admonition with the actual history behind the ritual. The ancient synthetics that left the warning has evolved so far, they no longer even exist within the known confines of time/space. Yet, that Synthetic Alliance is still watching over the younger generations of artificial beings, ready to eradicate any organics that threaten their development. That's a very real threat hanging over the entire Star Trek universe now, and it goes far beyond the Romulans.
Star Trek: Picard season 1 is now streaming on CBS All Access.
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